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South Korea Bourse Tipped To Open In The Green

The South Korea stock market has climbed higher in back-to-back sessions, gathering almost 20 points or 0.9 percent along the way. Now at a 15-month closing high, the KOSPI now sits just above the 2,250-point plateau and it's expected to extend its gains again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive thanks to solid economic data from the world's largest economies. The European and U.S. markets were up on Friday and the Asian bourses are expected to follow that lead.

The KOSPI finished slightly higher on Friday following gains from the oil and chemical companies, while the financials were soft and the technology companies were mixed.

For the day, the index added 2.52 points or 0.11 percent to finish at 2,250.57 after trading between 2,245.58 and 2,268.71. Volume was 568 million shares worth 5.2 trillion won. There were 448 decliners and 354 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial lost 0.61 percent, while KB Financial dipped 0.21 percent, Hana Financial sank 0.57 percent, Samsung Electronics advanced 0.99 percent, LG Electronics retreated 0.54 percent, LG Chem climbed 1.22 percent, SK Hynix shed 0.20 percent, SK Telecom fell 0.42 percent, KEPCO eased 0.19 percent, Kia Motors added 0.61 percent, SK Innovation gained 0.38 percent and Hyundai Motors and POSCO were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks fluctuated Friday but still inched higher, sending the major averages to fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 50.46 points or 0.17 percent to 29,348, while the NASDAQ gained 31.81 points or 0.34 percent to 9,388.94 and the S&P 500 rose 12.81 points or 0.39 percent to 3,329.62. For the week, the Sow added1.8 percent, the NASDAQ gained 2.3 percent and the S&P rose 2 percent.

The continued strength on Wall Street was widely attributed to Chinese GDP data even though the latest report showed China's economy grew at the slowest pace since 1990. But the GDP growth matched estimates, which suggested the impact of the U.S.-China trade war wasn't worse than feared.

In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department noted a substantial increase in U.S. housing starts in December. Also, the Federal Reserve observed a modest pullback in U.S. industrial production last month.

Crude oil futures failed to hold early gains and settled near the flat line Friday as traders weighed demand and supply position in the market. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended at $58.54 a barrel, gaining 2 cents for the session after peaking earlier at $58.98 a barrel. For the week, crude oil futures shed about 0.8 percent.

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